Recently Lisa Fleetwood, author of Destination Dachshund, wrote a blog entry about letting authors know you love them. In the entry she says that little old me inspired her to write it because I have been posting tweets about loving people in our industry.
I have to say that I was delighted to be the inspiration behind a blog post. It seriously gave me the tingles. So I felt that it was only fair to let people know who inspired me to write countless tweets shouting out Australian authors. It was none other than the ever charismatic Walter Mason.
Walter Mason is an institution in the Sydney writer scene. He not only wrote Destination Saigon and Destination Cambodia but also runs the Universal Heart Book Club and provides inspirational workshops and talks regularly all across Sydney. I was fortunate to meet Walter through another writing mentoring legend, Jan Cornall.
I undertook my first ever writing course with Jan Cornall. It was called Write Your Novel on the Weekends and it was run through WEA. It was fantastic. I learned so much about writing a book as opposed to writing a story for creative writing that I still refer back to my notes regularly. In that two day workshop Jan said to me that she felt that Walter Mason would be a good person for me to chat with. It seemed like an odd choice on the surface as I was writing children’s sci-fi and he had published a travel memoir but I endeavored to follow her guidance because she had been so spot on with everything else.
So a few months later when I saw Walter speaking on a panel at a Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow I timidly went up to introduce myself. I have social anxiety that I generally mask pretty well but introducing myself to an author I had never met was so intimidating that I must confess that I was literally shaking. He immediately made me feel at ease and has been so generous with his time and advice ever since this first meeting that I have become one of his biggest fans, not just of his writing, which is wonderful, and not just of his workshops, which I would recommend to anyone because they never fail to inspire, but of him the person.
It was at another Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow that Walter gave me the inspiration to give Australian authors a shout out, loudly and often. He said to the audience, “bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature.” This resonated with me powerful. I’m a massive geek, I even run a page on Facebook called GEEK so I know fandom and fandomania. This was something that I knew I could do and it fit in with my personality well.
You see, I’m the kind of person who loves to rave about things that I love. If I love a show, or a movie, or a book I want to tell people about it. I even do this with my reviewing style. I only do reviews of 3 stars and over. If I didn’t like a book I don’t really feel like talking about it. If I like a book I want to tell EVERYONE about it. So bringing the spirit of fandom to Australian literature was something I could do. So I’ve written blog entries, I regularly give shout outs on twitter and I’ve even made pictures all because Walter Mason inspired me.
So I’d like to pass on the challenge to everyone else reading this, bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature. Write a review, recommend an author to a friend, buy a book, follow an author on twitter, make some fan art. Just do something.
What will you do today to bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature today?
Edit: I’ve started using #auslitlove on my tweets that are about loving Australian authors so that I can keep track of who I’m loving and make sure I spread the love around far and wide.